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Jaber Elbaneh Surrenders to Yemeni Security Authorities

By Mark Scott

Buffalo, NY – Security authorities in Yemen apparently have a former Lackawanna man back in custody. The "Yemen Observer" website is reporting that Jaber Elbaneh turned himself in after escaping with more than 20 other prisoners 15 months ago.

Elbaneh is linked to the Lackawanna Six and is wanted in the U-S for providing material support to a terrorist organization. He allegedly attended an al Qaida training camp with other members of the Lackawanna group in the summer of 2001. But Elbaneh did not return to the US with the others.

They were subsequently arrested and are now serving federal prison sentences. Elbaneh was formally indicted in May 2003, and a $5 million reward was posted by the FBI for information leading to his arrest. He was taken into Yemeni custody in January 2004. But Elbaneh was never turned over to US authorities. He then escaped in February 2006.

The Deputy Minister of Interior in Yemen says Elbaneh and another escapee surrendered unconditionally. The Yemeni newspaper account, printed Sunday, did not provide the exact date of his surrender.

FBI Spokesman Paul Moskal said he's aware of the media reports surrounding Elbaneh but is declining further comment. For now though, it's not know if or when Elbaneh will be returned to the US.